It was a great day for multiculturalism. It was the Tower of Babel turned upside-down, and what fell out was a glorious manifestation of the grace of God. It was also a tough day for future lay readers: all those forbidding names—Parthians, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Cappadocians, Phrygians, Pamphyilians—that whole crowd. In Luke’s geography they represented “every nation under heaven.” Devout Jews of the Diaspora were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the 50th day after the consecration of the harvest and the Passover. Although bound by a common religious past, their languages and dialects were as diverse as those heard at Ellis Island in the early 1900s.
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